Is ProTools the problem with the recordings?

I caught myself listening to a really good interview with Captain Sensible of the Damned on Radio Live on Sunday morning. The Damned are playing tonight (Wednesday) here in Auckland. I’m not going. The interviewer, Graham Hill asked the Captain what he thought about the punk bands of the 2000 movement. Yer Green Days and the likes. The captain naturally did not think highly of them at all. He said the problem was all the studios use ProTools. A software program that takes all the rough edges off recordings. This the captain said leaves a very processed sound. So I listened to a couple of songs off YOR. Now I’m not an audiophile, nor do I have a lovely German stereo, but is this ProTools the problem with modern Morrissey? He says he wants to produce a “wall of sound” but often he and his producers have been criticised by having made bad mixes with the recordings. Certainly listening to the drums they all sound a bit tame and somewhat turned down.
An irrelevant post, I know. Incidentally I’m off to see the splendid Kitty, Daisy and Lewis next week. Their last album the gloriously titled “Smoking in Heaven”* was recorded on 1950’s analogue equipment. I truly love anything vintage and in working order. Old cars, cameras watches, librarians. Plus the girls in the band are sultry and Lewis is a dapper dresser.
*Librarian on Fire does not support nor advocate smoking.
 
Moz needs to to a 4-tracked spoken word tape so he can get back some of his Indie cred.

PROBLEM SOLVED.




PS: I do not personally like the concept of the modern "all digital" ProTools studio much at all, and I certainly feel it has a little something to do with the harsh, sterile nature of a lot of modern recording... But then there's still some amazing records coming out with squeaky-clean computer and DAW recordings, so I cannot complain *too* much...

I don't have quite as big a problem with mastering and mixing down in a DAW as I do producing an entire recording project with a piece of software. I do it all the time, personally. Anything else would be far too expensive and impractical.
 
Oh, and my sarcastic initial response was only half-joking... If he wants the "wall of sound", he could easily do it with the right studio/producer... there are quite a few studios specializing in "vintage" production and analog recording.
 

Talk Talk Talker

Tommorow Started
Pro Tools is not just a problem with recordings these days ,
it is 'the' problem that consumed an entire recording industry with one huge bite .

As it stands , anyone with only a shred of artistic ability or even none at all is led by this technology to believe they are "artists"
enabled to create works as symbolic and meaningful as someone who has the natural artistic gifts necessary to create music that matters .

Until the backlash of this mistake reaches it's zenith (and never may) genuine talent and ability in the craft of music will be overshadowed by manufactured merit .
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
anyone with only a shred of artistic ability or even none at all is led by this technology to believe they are "artists"
enabled to create works as symbolic and meaningful as someone who has the natural artistic gifts necessary to create music that matters.
Didn't you restate the classic punk ideal?
 

Jamie

Bluff, Ardour & Assoc.
The use of ProTools felt very noticeable on You Are The Quarry. I would assume it was used on Ringleader and Refusal, too, since it is so standard, but it feels like there are rougher edges on the latter. What's interesting is that there are at least two vocal "slips" on Ringleader (on Dear God Please Help Me: "...but the heart feels FREE"; On The Streets I Ran: "claim to know the real YOU") that were not fixed or treated. You can make an argument for these things either being humanizing or distracting depending on your taste.

Can you imagine the uproar if Morrissey suddenly released a song using Auto-Tune on his vocal? It would be worth it if only for the uproar.
 

Shaw

Active Member
It's not just Pro tools, it's that whole computer based recording, though there are lots of factors involved. I think once upon a time studios and certainly record producers had distinctive sounds. You could listen to a Glenda Collins b-side having not heard it before and know immediately it was recorded by Joe Meek in his house, using his equipment and techniques. Nowadays the sound of records just don't seem to have that same distinction, that same character. Everything seems so sterile, exacerbated by the loudness war. Obviously there are exceptions. Before Joe Meek and co came along, music was recorded by people in white coats who had very regimented ways of how to record each instrument as if it was an exact science. It's almost like a complete reversal back to those days, things sound rather sterile.
 

King Leer

Leering since '97
I'm not an audiophile but my impression of Quarry and Years is different than Ringleader, even if they all employed Protools and a host of other digital techniques. Visconti obviously "grew up" producing a more analog, warmer sound while Finn came into his own in the digital age. So although they both probably used Protools on their work with Moz, the results are vastly different. Ringleader might be as close as you'll get to a major release that doesn't suffer from the "sterility" so common now. I don't think either Quarry or Years sound sterile but they do sound processed in many respects (for the record, I somehow liked the controversial "whoosh" and Galaga-eseque sounds on Irish Blood). My guess is that Morrissey didn't know his voice had been treated (slightly) with Autotune, particularly on It's Not Your Birthday...
 
I'm not an audiophile but my impression of Quarry and Years is different than Ringleader, even if they all employed Protools and a host of other digital techniques. Visconti obviously "grew up" producing a more analog, warmer sound while Finn came into his own in the digital age. So although they both probably used Protools on their work with Moz, the results are vastly different. Ringleader might be as close as you'll get to a major release that doesn't suffer from the "sterility" so common now. I don't think either Quarry or Years sound sterile but they do sound processed in many respects (for the record, I somehow liked the controversial "whoosh" and Galaga-eseque sounds on Irish Blood). My guess is that Morrissey didn't know his voice had been treated (slightly) with Autotune, particularly on It's Not Your Birthday...
Slight treatments are really all autotune was intended for. Some may not like the idea of autotune at all out of some notion of purity, but it's the trendy, full-on Cher-throwback/dance club-and-radio-friendly Neo-Trance fusion Hip-Hop dreck use of the effect that I find obnoxious... Using it subtly for its intended purpose doesn't really bug me so much (I can't really recall hearing anything that sounded blatantly autotuned in INYB, which is why I mention this).

On the subject of YATQ's production: It sounds quite thin and flat and lifeless to me overall. Which is to say, it sounds like a very cut-and-dry "ProTool-y" (i.e., super-clean, flat and dry) recording session with little embellishment (AKA actual production/sound engineering) beyond adding tracks of synthy sound effects everywhere.
 

King Leer

Leering since '97
The vocals on INYBA were the first time I really felt Morrissey's voice had been "treated" -- mainly in the highest notes. It stretches his vocal chords in a way falsetto/yodeling wouldn't, which is perhaps why Morrissey only attempted it once live (never heard it, is it available?). In any case, yes, it's still miles removed from all the Kraft cheese slice vocals out there. Awful stuff.

Certain songs on Quarry I loved the sound of, some I didn't. I think a b-side like It's Hard to Walk... was perfectly suited to Finn's punk pop background (why Finn disliked I'm Okay By Myself I don't understand). On the other hand Camden, as gorgeous as it is as a song, isn't nearly as organic as it should be. But then again, I like the swirling feel of Dykes. Hmm. Nonetheless, Morrissey really liked Jerry as a producer and person -- he was happy working with him.

Slight treatments are really all autotune was intended for. Some may not like the idea of autotune at all out of some notion of purity, but it's the trendy, full-on Cher-throwback/dance club-and-radio-friendly Neo-Trance fusion Hip-Hop dreck use of the effect that I find obnoxious... Using it subtly for its intended purpose doesn't really bug me so much (I can't really recall hearing anything that sounded blatantly autotuned in INYB, which is why I mention this).

On the subject of YATQ's production: It sounds quite thin and flat and lifeless to me overall. Which is to say, it sounds like a very cut-and-dry "ProTool-y" (i.e., super-clean, flat and dry) recording session with little embellishment (AKA actual production/sound engineering) beyond adding tracks of synthy sound effects everywhere.
 

Jamie

Bluff, Ardour & Assoc.
On the subject of YATQ's production: It sounds quite thin and flat and lifeless to me overall. Which is to say, it sounds like a very cut-and-dry "ProTool-y" (i.e., super-clean, flat and dry) recording session with little embellishment (AKA actual production/sound engineering) beyond adding tracks of synthy sound effects everywhere.
It feels very hit and miss to me, even looking beyond the relative merits of the songs themselves, i.e., "I Have Forgiven Jesus" and "I'm Not Sorry" are better for the production value, "America Is Not The World" worse. I think those inconsistencies is why it doesn't "stick" with me as a whole album I can listen to all the way through.

Finn could get some warm, wonderful guitar tones like Alain's lead in "Let Me Kiss You"...and then bury the lovely coda of "First of the Gang to Die," a spot where the tune felt like it "kicked up a notch" in concert with wholly unnecessary, blurry synth strings. In turn, this distracts from Morrissey's sudden falsetto outburst. Of course, this is more a subjective opinion on the overall production, not specifically the ProTools aspect, but there you go.
 

Raphael Lambach

Well-Known Member
In fact, the Pro Tools isn't the problem. The problem consists in how the studios and producers are using them.

D'you think guys that Morrissey doesn't use them?
Pay attention in recently recordings and you'll see the different between Smiths years and YoR vocals.
 
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